You may be a business strategist in Madrid, required to meet colleagues throughout Europe or a London-based architect who only needs to meet structural engineers on a one-off basis. Or maybe you’re a waste management specialist who has to meet colleagues in the UK. Wherever you are and whatever your role, meetings are an essential part of our working lives and are often the backbone of our day.
Essential they may be, but they’re also a bit of a ‘marmite’ event for both hosts and attendees – many people either love them or loathe them. But however you feel about them, they’re still an effective and crucial part of any successful business. It’s a dedicated time to spend with your team in a different environment. And you’re guaranteed everyone’s undivided attention – if you do it right, at least.
Ultimately, meetings help get things done. Ideally, we should enter every meeting with the same enthusiasm as when we first walked into the office. They’re basically one of the most successful things you can do as a team. Don’t believe us? Well, here are some of the most famous meetings of all time so you can make your own mind up.
Maastricht Treaty – February 1992
The Maastricht Treaty – which created the European Union and brought Europe the single currency, the euro – was signed in the final meeting, but several meetings built up to this momentous event. The euro became one of the world’s most important currencies and opened the door to free trade within Europe. The single currency is now in the top ten of the most expensive currencies in the world.
First Geneva convention – August 1864
The Geneva Conventions are a series of four treaties which established the standards for how civilians, prisoners of war (POWs) and soldiers who are otherwise rendered hors de combat, or incapable of fighting, must be treated during wartimes. Meetings spent agreeing the treaties and protocols have dramatically improved people’s basic rights during times of war. The Second Geneva convention of 1949 was ratified by 196 countries.
Obama’s visit to Cuba – March 2016
One of the most monumental meetings in recent history. It represented the culmination of the ‘Cuban Thaw’, started in late 2014, which sought to restore the diplomatic relationship between the US and Cuba and started the process of easing trade embargoes on the Caribbean island nation. The meeting was a landmark in US history – it was the first time a US president had visited Cuba in almost 90 years.
Path to foundation of the English Premier League – October 1990
The first major step to the formation of the Premier League in English football took place in October 1990, when Greg Dyke, the then managing director of London Weekend Television (LWT), met with the representatives of the ‘big five (Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal). The Premier League is now the fourth most lucrative sporting league in the world and rakes in the most revenue in Europe.
NFL – August 1920
On August 20, 1920, a meeting was held by representatives of the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Rock Island Independents and Dayton Triangles at the Jordan and Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio. They initially called their new league the American Professional Football Conference (APFC). It became the APFA (association) a month later when more teams joined, and the NFL in 1922. NFL is arguably one of America’s most popular sports, giving us the Super Bowl 50, which is the most-watched programme in US TV history. In fact, it’s only topped by events which happen every four years, such as the FIFA world cup.
When Steve met Steve – 1971
The founders of Apple Inc. met in 1971 when Steve Wozniak was in college and Steve Jobs still in high school. In an interview from 2007, Wozniak is quoted as saying, “a friend said, you should meet Steve Jobs, because he likes electronics and he also plays pranks”. The meeting has subsequently brought us some of the world’s most desirable technology and changed the ways in which we communicate.
Microsoft – 1975
Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque on April 4, 1975. This gave birth to one of the world’s largest organisations and Gates became the world’s richest person with a net worth of $82.3 billion. The numbers they represent are incredible, check out their statistics right here.
Drum – 2011
In early 2011, NetDev CEO and founder John Logsdon met with his team to discuss the future of audio conferencing. The meeting heralded the birth of Drum web meetings. Within the first four weeks, there were over 1,500 organisations using the platform and Drum is now changing the way in which organisations meet and collaborate online.
I know what you’re thinking, right now this particular meeting is not *quite* on the scale of that of the previous ones, but if things keep progressing the way they are right now, we may well be looking back at where it all started in the not-so-distant future!
So what’s the recurring theme in each and every one of these meetings? Success. In more recent history, meetings have, for example, been instrumental in increasing an organisation’s monetary value.
It’s equally clear that the preparatory meetings leading up to the pivotal event, and follow-up meetings afterwards, are just as important. Landmark agreements may have been made at one specific meeting, but it took an enormous amount of planning and multiple meetings to get to that stage. Your next meeting may be just that pivotal meeting or it could be a build up to it. Either way, web meetings are there for a reason and we should take each one seriously.